Sample 10 Day All Israel Itinerary

Day 01. (Day) (Date).  Depart USA. Today we depart Atlanta, GA via Delta for our flight to Tel-Aviv. (D)

Day 02. (Day) (Date) Arrival Tel Aviv, the Sharon Plain and Galilee.  After passport control and baggage claim we will meet our driver/guide and private car.  Our first stop will be a brief visit at the Baptist Village in Tel Aviv.  We will then drive through the Valley of Sharon North to Caesarea by the Sea. We begin where the baptism of Gentiles began, at Caesarea Maritima (Focus on Acts 10).  We will include the sunken harbor, the hippodrome, the theatre and the Roman aqueduct. We then drive to Muhraka (“burnt offering”) on Mt. Carmel, with a panoramic view of the Plain of Jezreel (Esdraelon). (Focus on I Kings 18, the confrontation between Elijah and the prophets of Baal). We continue to Megiddo for the background to Ar-mageddon (Revelation 16). Then we cross the country to the Arbel cliff for a magnificent view over the Sea of Galilee and the sites of Jesus’ mission (Matthew 4). We will have dinner and overnight in Tiberias. (B, D)

Day 03. (Day) (Date). Sea of Galilee.  After breakfast, we will drive up the Golan Heights for a panoramic view of the lake from the East.  We will cross to the Mount of Beatitudes (Matthew 5-7). If you wish time will be made for a walk down the hill to the lake, meeting the car at Tabgha, where Christians have long remembered the first feeding of the multitude (Mark 6) and nearby, the breakfast of John 21. We continue on to Capernaum, where Franciscan archaeologists believe they have uncovered the house of Peter (Mark 1 and 2). After our St. Peter fish lunch, we will take an hour on the lake in a wooden boat modeled on one from Jesus’ time (Matthew 14). We end the day with a visit to the modern baptismal site at the point where the Jordan flows out of the lake. We will return to the hotel for dinner and overnight. (B, L, D)

Day 04. (Day) (Date).    . The sources of the Jordan.  After breakfast, we travel to Hazor, the largest Canaanite city, for a brief visit and a view of Mount Hermon and its beautiful surroundings. We continue to Dan, where we combine a nature walk beside the Upper Jordan with views of the ancient ruins, including the Israelite high place that supported a golden calf (I Kings 12). A short drive then takes us to the spring of Caesarea Philippi (Banias) where Peter confessed his recognition of Jesus as Christ (Matthew 16). Here we can visit the stunning remains of a first-century AD palace belonging to Agrippa II. We then drive around Mt. Hermon for a glimpse of Damascus, 45 miles away, before heading back over the Golan Heights to our home on the Sea of Galilee for dinner and overnight. (B, D)

Day 05. (Day) (Date). The lower Galilee and the Jordan Valley.  Today we will visit three major sites: Nazareth, Beth Shean and Jericho. On the way, we will stop at Cana where we commemorate Jesus’ transformation of water into wine. In Nazareth we may choose a visit to the spring of the ancient village; a walk through the bazaar over the site of the ancient village to the Church of the Annunciation with a visit there; or a view from the “brow of the hill on which the city was built” (Luke 4) looking toward Mt. Tabor in the Jezreel Plain. We will then cross the plain and descend through the Jezreel Valley to Beth Shean (aka Scythopolis). Here we shall climb the tel and view the setting for the death of Saul (I Samuel 28 – II Samuel 1). We will then survey the magnificent Roman and Byzantine ruins: theatre, bathhouses, ancient rest rooms, market areas, and colonnaded streets. We then drive down through the Jordan Valley south to Jericho.  At Jericho, we will visit the tel of this oldest city and view the traditional mountain of Jesus’ temptation. Ascending the Roman road along Wadi Qilt, we stop for a look at St. George’s Monastery. Finally, atop Mt. Scopus, we behold majestic Jerusalem where we will have dinner and overnight. (B, D)

Day 06. (Day) (Date).  O Jerusalem!  We begin our day on the Mt. of Olives with the Old City tilted toward us. After an orientation, we will descend the traditional Palm Sunday road to Dominus Flevit (“The Lord weeps”), remembering Jesus’ entry (Luke 19). We continue down to Gethsemane (Matthew 26) with a visit to the garden and the church (Quiet time). Then we drive to Mt. Zion to the grounds of a church called Peter in Gallicantu, which affords the best view of early Jerusalem from the west. (Here, the Assumptionist Fathers propose was the house where the High Priest Caiaphas interrogated Jesus.) Driving south, we visit Solomon’s Pools, Jerusalem’s main source of water for almost 2000 years. Passing the monastery of Hortus Conclusus (“the sealed garden”) in Artas, we go to Shepherds’ Fields. We conclude the day with a visit to Bethlehem, walking through its alleys and markets to the Church of the Nativity before returning to the hotel for dinner and overnight. (B, D)

Day 07. (Day) (Date).  Jerusalem – The Old City.  We transfer to Dung Gate where we will walk up to the Western Wall, Judaism’s holiest site. We ascend to the Dome of the Rock and the al-Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest site of Islam, located on the traditional site of the ancient Temple Mount where it was once thought the Temple stood.  Just to the north we find the Pools of Bethesda (John 5) and St. Anne’s Church perfectly preserved from the Crusader period and with remarkable acoustics. We then follow the Way of the Cross (Via Dolorosa) back as far as the Holy Sepulcher. From there we walk through the Christian Quarter through the Arab Souks past the Armenian Quarter and exit the Old City through the Mt Zion Gate to visit the Upper Room and King David’s Tomb on the grounds of Mt. Zion. We will then return to the hotel for dinner and overnight. (B, D)

Day 08. (Day) (Date).  The Rift Valley. Today we will drive to Bethany, the home of Martha and Lazarus. From there we drive through the Judean desert to Qumran. Here we view Cave # 4, which contained the greatest quantity of Dead Sea scrolls. We continue south to Masada where we will take the cable car to the top, visiting Herod’s mountain bunker and the last stronghold of the Jewish revolt against Rome (66-73 AD). We then enter the nature reserve of Ein Gedi, rich in flora and fauna, and walk to a lovely waterfall. Here we can also try to imagine a possible cave that brings to mind the biblical reference (1 Samuel 24: 1-3) “Now when Saul returned from pursuing the Philistines, he was told, saying, “Behold, David is in the wilderness of Engedi.” Then Saul took three thousand chosen men from all Israel and went to seek David and his men in front of the Rocks of the Wild Goats. He came to the sheepfolds on the way, where there was a cave; and Saul went in to relieve himself. Now David and his men were sitting in the inner recesses of the cave.”  We conclude the day with a float in the Dead Sea (at minus 1390 feet, as low as you’re ever likely to get) before we return to Jerusalem for dinner and overnight. (B, D)

Day 09. (Day) (Date).  The archaeology of Jerusalem and the New City. We begin with a modern tunnel that enables us to examine the length of the outer Herodian Temple wall -mostly preserved in mint condition – including two stone blocks each weighing about 600 tons. We then examine the ruins near the south side of the Temple complex, including steps where we may be certain that Jesus and the disciples walked. We may then descend the slope of the first Jerusalem (“City of David”) to the Gihon spring, and view the knee-high water through Hezekiah’s tunnel, which led the water to a pool at a safe remove from Assyrian arrows. We then motor to West Jerusalem passing by the Knesset to the Shrine of the Book, which houses the Dead Sea Scrolls, and the Israel Museum, including the outdoor model of Jerusalem as the city may have looked in 66 AD. We close the day at the Garden Tomb for a special visit and the possibility of having a private communion on the grounds.  We will return to our hotel for dinner and overnight. (B, D)

Day 10. (Day) (Date).  Free day /Return USA.  Today we will have a day of leisure for personal interest and last minute shopping.  In the early evening we will have our farewell dinner before a late departure back home on our flight from Tel Aviv to Atlanta, GA (B, D)